Monday’s Headlines: No One is Going to Go Back to ‘Normal’ Edition

Photo: Gersh Kuntzman
Photo: Gersh Kuntzman

Mayor de Blasio, you are on warning. We know you’re fighting the COVID-19 war right now, and we appreciate it. But as you struggle to get New York back to “normal,” you need to know that none of your constituents is going to want to go back to the “normal” that existed before the pandemic:

  • People won’t want to go back to breathing filthy air now that they see how clear the skies with 80 percent fewer car trips.
  • People aren’t going to want to be squeezed back onto sidewalks, with the garbage and the rats, when half the space between the sidewalks is set aside simply for the free storage of cars.
  • People aren’t going to want to go back to double-parked trucks everywhere because the curb has been so mismanaged.
  • And, frankly, anyone who has been driving is not going to want to go back to 5 mile-per-hour average speeds.

Now, we don’t care about that last group, but we mention them just to put the mayor on notice that everyone is going to want changes after this crisis is over. Are you planning for the changes your constituents will demand?

Urban planner Brent Toderian is. In his latest must-watch Twitter video, he previews what will likely be a global movement to save and improve our cities. And it won’t just be here, as one of our friends in India shows below:

So lead, follow or get out of the way, Mr. Mayor.

OK, we’re off the soapbox. Here’s the weekend news roundup (with some soapbox asides thrown in, of course!):

  • Proof of what we’ve long argued: Only drivers are sinners! After all, why would this Long Island church offer drive-thru confessionals? Interesting that there’s no similar service for people on bikes or on their feet. (NY Post)
  • Mother Jones heralded Oakland’s 74 miles of car-free open streets. Meanwhile, we got into another fight with the mayor of New York, who opened 1.5 miles and then scrubbed the experiment because, you know, cops.
  • A new video emerged showing NYPD officers aggressively enforcing … something … on the subway, this time detaining a crying kid (Gothamist covered). The video follows our story last week that featured a video of cops roughing up a man who allegedly would not socially distance … on a crowded platform.
  • The Post followed our exclusive about the mayor’s 14-mile drive so he can walk in Brooklyn on Sunday.
  • And, finally, New York City Transit President Sarah Feinberg mourned her agency’s coronavirus loses in an amNY op-ed.